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General steam trap question
As the facilities director for a group of museums, I do more HVAC stuff in house every year. I do know, however, when to pick up the phone. Recently we (my retired engineer volunteer and myself) found a steam coil in a new air handler ice cold. To make a long story short, a ca. 1958 F&T trap had a split-in-half float valve and a disintegrated thermostatic valve. (Funny how expensive PM contracts in the past never addressed these.) At any rate, a replacement cover took care of that and the coil is fine. We saw another one near by, ordered another cover and it too needed it. Now, there are maybe 30 or so in-the-wall radiators with vertical thermostatic traps. We took the easiest one to access (large metal cover) and removed the trap. Sure enough, the bellows was full of cracks. We obtained new guts and all is fine. There are maybe 5 more with big metal covers that will be equally easy. But the rest seem un-reachable! There is just a metal grate in the drywall about three feet up for the exiting hot air. And down below in the wooden baseboard is a decorative cut out for the entering air. Down on my belly, I can see the trap but removing it seems impossible. I can assume that they are all ca. 1958 and in the same condition as the one we rebuilt. How am I getting in there with wrenches? Is this a common problem? Do we live with the inefficiency of failed traps (these radiators do get hot) or embark on some drywall/carpentry adventure?
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